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Filppula ‘here to make’ Lightning a better team, says Yzerman

Jul 7, 2013, 10:22 PM EDT

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Steve Yzerman knows what people are going to say – or have already been saying – about Valtteri Filppula.

The Tampa Bay Lightning, along with Yzerman the general manager, signed Filppula on Friday, during the league’s frantic free agent frenzy, for $25 million over five years.

Prior to Filppula signing in Tampa, the Lightning bought out Vincent Lecavalier, who began his career with the Bolts as a first-overall pick all the way back in 1998.

Lecavalier, as a free agent, then went out and signed with the Philadelphia Flyers.

So yes, connect the dots and it’s easy to see why people feel Filppula is there to replace Lecavalier. Yzerman, at least publicly, doesn’t feel the same way.

“We’ve changed our team; we’ve acquired a good player who’s going to be a real positive contributor to our team, who’s a real good guy,” Yzerman told NHL.com.

“We understand everybody’s going to say, ‘Oh, he’s here to replace Vinny.’ He’s here to make us a better team and he will make us a better team.”

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